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Nurses Cashing In On Nursing Shortage, Earning Higher Salary, Better Perks

With hospitals offering great compensation packages, huge signing bonuses and luxury services for employees, it’s a good time to be a nurse.



The opportunities are stemming from a nursing shortage, which is putting the squeeze on facilities to bring in great health care providers.

It was a completely different story when the previous nursing shortage ended after the 2008 financial crisis hit. The nurses who were graduating at the time snagged tons of positions, but afterward, jobs weren’t as easy to come by, and there certainly weren’t as many incentives offered.

Eight years later, the economy has improved, and a lot of nurses are entering into retirement or reducing their hours. Another aspect of the increased demand is the expanded insurance coverage through the Affordable Healthcare Act has resulted in a higher demand for nurses, which has bent the job market in favor of nurses.

Healthcare economist and nurse professor at Montana State University, Peter Buerhaus, said there are serious shortages in New England and along the West Coast, Pennsylvania, Florida, Iowa and Nebraska, just to name a few.  

Hospitals hire more than half of the country’s 2.8 million nurses. When there’s a shortage, that means there is a rush to get help.


That results in organizations offering more to nurse hires, including higher salary, services like grocery shoppers, and hiring bonuses to fill in the gaps.


In fact, bonuses of $10,000 or more are becoming more common in states like Florida, Texas and California.

Brian Scott, the CFO for temp staffing company AMN Healthcare Services said that the number of nurse recruiters on their payroll have increased by 79 percent since 2013 to accommodate the nurse demand.

With hospitals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Geisinger Health System has offered nurses with only one year experience sign on businesses of up to $15,000.  

Joanne Spetz, a University of California San Francisco nursing professor, studies the California nurse market. Spetz said between  nurses retiring and newly insured residents seeking care, the need for nurses in California soared by 40 percent. Signing bonus offers on popular job search site jumped from 0.5 percent in 2013 to 2.5 percent in September.

New nurse graduates will be expected to fill this gap within the next decade, but labor experts project that it won’t be enough to meet the growing demand for healthcare in the coming decade.

While the nursing shortage isn’t as high as it was over a decade ago, it still provides a great opportunity for current nurses, or those entering nursing to improve their salary and potentially lifestyle if they take advantage of the right opportunity.

Would you leave your nursing job for an opportunity to negotiate better pay and more perks? Would you move to another state for this opportunity? Let us know in the comments below.


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